For the beginner, this revised, edition of the text has been updated and shortened. It includes 12 background essays which seek to make astronomy relevant to everyday life with discussions of ancient astronomy, how to oberve the sky, and hypothetical trips to the moon and planets. James Kaler relates modern astronomy to identifiable subjects and events such as the daily movement of celestial bodies, sunrises, sunsets and the movements of the planets. In the comparative planetology sections, he emphasizes the differences and similarities of all planets to each other and the Earth.
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Dr. James B. Kaler is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research area, in which he has published over 100 papers, involves dying stars. He has held Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, has been awarded medals for his work from the University of Liege and the University of Mexico, has written for a variety of magazines, was a consultant for Time-Life Books on their Voyage Through the Universe series, and appears frequently on Illinois television and radio. His books include Stars and their Spectra (Cambridge University Press), Stars (Scientific American Library), Astronomy! (HarperCollins), The Ever-Changing Sky (Cambridge), Astronomy! A Brief Edition (Addison-Wesley), and Cosmic Clouds (Scientific American Library). He has also developed, with Sarah Kennedy, the scientific kit Elements of the Universe. He is a past president of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony.
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